Surgeons are an integral part of the medical community. Their life-saving expertise—which cost them several years and thousands of dollars to achieve—commands respect and admiration from the public they serve.
Around the world, surgeons stand at the top of the social ladder. Surgeons are paid the most in Australia, for example.
But aside from wealth and fame, millions remember the surgeons who operated on their loved ones, treating their diseases and conditions.
Indeed, so many people owe their lives to surgeons.
In this article, we will recognize why surgeons are important to society and the world at large.
Today, many fatal diseases and terrible complications have lost their fang. Since the dawn of civilization, appendicitis, gall stones, hernia, and severe ulcers have made people suffer and die severely.
This circumstance was the reality of life before modern surgery was established two hundred years ago. But now, these conditions can be safely and effectively treated in the operating room.
Surgeons are indispensable in hospitals and clinics for this reason. With their sixteen years of medical training and experience, surgeons can help save their patients’ lives from needless pain and even death.
Also, people can enjoy more years of their lives spared from the diseases that afflicted them before.
For example, appendicitis used to be a death sentence both for young children and adults. Now, an inflamed appendix that is about to explode can be removed in a relatively short procedure.
Surgeons are also important because they study for additional years to specialize in specific parts of the human body. This way, they can treat their patients with uncommon conditions while meeting the market demand.
In Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons supports the following specialties and their subspecialties:
- Cardiothoracic surgery (for the heart, lungs, and the chest cavity);
- General surgery (for the digestive system, the thyroid gland, and other parts of the body);
- Neurosurgery (for the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves);
- Orthopedic surgery (for the bones, muscles, tendons, and joints);
- Otolaryngology surgery (for the ear, nose, and throat);
- Pediatric surgery (for infants, children, teenagers, and young adults who need surgical care);
- Plastic surgery (for the restoration and improvement of body parts); and,
- Urologic and vascular surgery (for the colon, genitals, urinary tract, blood vessels, and lymph nodes).
Statistics show that at least four people pass away while 90 people are seriously wounded from road accidents every day in Australia.
Likewise, dozens get injured or die in workplace accidents here, an unfortunate reality in the manufacturing, agricultural, fishing, and construction industries.
Worse, those who survive these tragedies at the moment may be in gory situations. In worst cases, patients may have deep glass punctures, severe lacerations, extensive burns, and bones puncturing their skin and organs.
Surgeons are crucial in times of emergency. No matter what the situation may be—whether there is a natural disaster or a mishap—surgeons are always on-call to provide critical care and treatment.
Trauma surgeons handle injured people rushed into the emergency room. But surgeons may also bolt to the scene if there had been a calamity or a large-scale accident.
The coronavirus pandemic sidelined many surgeons. Several elective operations had to be postponed as well. Surgeons had to give more space for Covid-19 patients and lessen the risk of viral infection.
Despite these, surgeons strategized to provide quality operations elsewhere. They also assisted the physicians, nurses, medical practitioners, and other frontliners with their medical training and specialties.
Surgeons are important because they are at the forefront of medical advancement.
Because of their specialized knowledge of human anatomy, pathology, and treatment through incisions, surgeons propel medicine forward through the decades.
Surgeons are exposed to gore and patients in dire pain. Since the beginning of modern surgery, surgeons strove to find ways to make patients numb from the agony of incisions and cuts.
In 1846, William Morton, an American dental surgeon, discovered ether, the first surgical anesthesia. Since then, patients no longer have to endure horrifying pain during medical treatments and recovery.
During the same century, almost half of surgical patients died of infections and complications after operations. Surgeons did not practice hygiene as well—they did not wash their hands or change their clothing before performing surgeries.
Hence, operating rooms and clinics were a cesspool of harmful microorganisms, splattered blood, and dirt.
But it was also a surgeon who proposed and developed antiseptic measures, revolutionizing medical practice forever. Joseph Lister, a British surgeon, emphasized that strict sanitary procedures and hygiene can save patients from infections, diseases, and complications.
Anesthetics and antisepsis came from the research and experiments of surgeons, but these were only the beginning. As decades passed, surgeons strove to improve medicine, the surgical field, and the lives of their patients.
Childbirth is a fact of life. But in the 19th century, in an age where the average number of children was over five, thousands of women died because of pregnancy and labor complications.
Surgeons developed techniques that saved the lives of mothers and their babies. Innovations like the Caesarian section, forceps delivery, and episiotomy drastically reduced pregnancy death and made childbearing safer.
Until our present times, surgeons lead the advancement of research and medical technology. They experiment with 3D printing technology for body parts, delicate procedures for rare and complicated diseases, and stem cells for plastic surgery.
Surgeons are also important because they motivate us to dream higher and strive further.
Entering the surgical field and becoming a surgeon is intense and challenging.
As mentioned earlier, aspirants must sacrifice so much to become a surgeon. They must pay expensive bills, study longer than their peers, and even set aside their relationships to train and work.
But their excellence, discipline, and prominence, in the end, inspire people to believe in the values of commitment and courage. Ultimately, the surgeons’ capability to save and improve lives gives us a sense of awe and admiration for these heroes.